AARP Eye Center
AARP Florida recently announced 8 organizations throughout the state will receive 2023 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.6 million awarded among 310 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable by improving public places; transportation; housing; digital connections; diversity, equity and inclusion; and more, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and older.
“AARP Florida is committed to working with local leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said Jeff, Johnson, AARP Florida State Director. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for Floridians 50 and over.”
Here in Florida, projects funded include:
- City of Tallahassee: KCCI-Knight Creative Communities Institute This project will contribute to placemaking, community connectivity, and multimodal safety through a community event focused on painting two crosswalks that connect an elementary school and a senior living community.
- North Florida: Apalachee Regional Planning Council This project will provide mobile legal clinics "Wills on Wheels", to a nine-county region in North Florida, that will provide legal services to residents, with emphasis on older adults.
- City of Lakeland: The Hillcrest Street Connection, creates a safe, ADA-compliant, walkable connection from Florida Avenue to Drane Park, providing connections to three other bike and pedestrian routes that are connected throughout the City to bike and pedestrian facilities and trails.
- City of Orlando: Orlando’s Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) Education & Outreach Campaign will raise awareness of ADUs in a variety of multicultural settings and will create a more user-friendly permitting experience for people wishing to build an ADU for intergenerational family members.
- Lee County: Keep Lee County Beautiful, Inc. This project will establish a tree canopy, lost during Hurricane Ian, in a park visited by many each day. The park hosts the local 50+ softball league.
- Hillsborough County: Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County This project will promote Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as affordable, accessible housing options in our community through a well-publicized design competition where teams from local architecture firms as well as high school & college architecture programs present ADU plans.
- Miami-Dade County: Miami Center for Architecture & Design, Inc. (MCAD): Miami Center for Architecture & Design, to foster affordable infill Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), is creating a design competition for options that give homeowners access to designs featuring sustainability, affordability, and accessibility, focusing on the 50+ community.
- Florida City: Sprout This program focuses on aeroponic gardening to alternatives to traditional gardening methods. The gardens provide simple installation and effortless ability to grow food through a lightweight system compared to using soil and will bring local seniors and residents together to cultivate the garden. In addition to the community fridges, we are now expanding our resources to include choice pantries. This will allow elders to come and shop in the pantry and community fridges to get free food.
AARP Community Challenge grant projects will be funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. True to the program’s quick-action nature, projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.
This year, the AARP Community Challenge accepted applications across three different grant opportunities, including existing flagship grants in addition to new capacity-building microgrants for improving walkability and community gardens. New demonstration grants will focus on improving transportation systems, with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America, and housing choice design competitions.
AARP is also bolstering its investment in rural communities, mobility innovation, transportation options, and health and food access.
“These grants continue to lead to long-term, positive changes in communities across the country,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This year, we are proud to support the largest number of projects in the program’s seven-year history, which will improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes so everyone can thrive as they age.”
The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages, especially those age 50 and older. Since 2017, AARP Florida has awarded 42 grants and $524,128 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.
View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at aarp.org/communitychallenge and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.